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  • Locations: Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Kathmandu, Nepal
Early Fall 2017
August 22 – September 18, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $3,125
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites N/A
 Program      Directors David Citrin and Benjamin Spencer
 Program Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline March 15, 2017 - EXTENDED!
 Information  Session(s) Feb. 16, 2017 12:00-1:00 pm, Thomson 317
  General The Design and Development in Nepal (DDN) exploration seminar is a unique, 28-day program offered jointly by the Nepal Studies Initiative (NSI) and the Informal Urban Communities Initiative (IUCI). The seminar challenges students to delve into the ideas and contemporary debates surrounding development, and respond to them through community-based participatory design. Students in the DDN program will explore historical and contemporary conditions as key drivers of change in the country and engage in a small scale design intervention in an underserved urban neighborhood in the Kathmandu Valley. This innovative program aims to engender humility in the face of complexity and reflective action in response to context and community.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

Nepal offers unique opportunities to explore the contested human histories and geographies, sociocultural and linguistic diversity, and anomalous success and struggles in “development.” Indeed, the country is in the throes of great social and political change; following a decade long civil war; in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes; and as the government promulgates a constitution that will impact ethnic and federal politics throughout the country. With a population of 2.5 million and a growth rate of close 4%, the Kathmandu Valley is one of fastest growing metropolitan areas in Asia and an epicenter of Nepal’s shifting and contested landscape. Urban poverty, social inequity and informal urban development are increasing with profound implications for quality of life, health and well-being and ecological resilience in the city and beyond.

The DDN seminar will last four weeks from August 22 until September 18, 2017 and is open to all UW undergraduate and graduate students. The course will be comprised of lectures and discussion sessions, organizational site visits, field trips, community meetings, and hands-on design/construction with a particular emphasis on poor urban communities and development post-2015 earthquakes.

We will focus specifically on 3 themes:

  1. Political Ecology, Climate Change and Urbanization
  2. Human and Economic Development
  3. Human Health and the Built Environment

Key partners contributing to the seminar include:

Tribhuvan University, Institute of Engineering, Department of Architecture Kathmandu University, School of Engineering, various other departments Lumanti – Nepalese NGO focusing on issues related to urban poverty Communitere- Nepal – Makerspace and co-lab with a focus on collaborative humanitarian effort



Kathmandu, Nepal and Patlekhet, Kavre, Nepal


Kathmandu: We will spend 22 days in urban, Kathmandu Valley. Students will stay in rental housing located in Patan. Patan, is a safe setting for students, convenient for all Kathmandu Valley activities and easily accessible for guest lecturers and Nepali students.

The following additional services will be provided to students:

  • Dedicated vehicle for transportation within Kathmandu Valley
  • Airport pickup/dropoff for students
  • Conference room for discussions, lectures, and program activities as well as shop facilities including digital fabrication equipment and a wide assortment of tools will be available at Communitere –Nepal.

Field Trip: We will spend 6 days in rural Kavre District in the village of Pathlekhet. Pathlekhet is approximately 2-2.5hrs from Kathmandu. In Pathlekhet, students will stay at Phoolbari Homestay (

The homestay arrangement is basic and students should be prepared for simple accommodations.



Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

The exploration seminar is open to all undergraduate and graduate students from any major, school, or program who are in good academic standing, as determined by the UW Study Abroad policy. We encourage students from a broad range of disciplines to apply. Previous experience studying, working or living abroad will be viewed in a positive light but is not required. Given the unpredictability of community-based work, we will be looking for applicants with personal qualities including patience, adaptability, and the ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of changing and/or adverse circumstances. All students must complete a week-long pre-departure orientation (language training and orientation) and receive medical clearance.

We will be spending significant time outdoors in an urban community in Kathmandu and in a rural village during our field visit. Students will be expected to hike up/down steep hills –during the hot, humid, and rainy monsoon season- to reach various community projects. They will also be participating in small-scale construction and agricultural activities that may require significant physical exertion, use of power/hand tools and working in the garden. Students should be comfortable ‘getting their hands dirty’ and motivated to participate in these activities, despite their difficulty.

During our field visit, students will also live in a Nepali home stay in a rural village. There, students will have limited access to electricity and internet. Home stays include bathroom facilities. However, hot water may not be unavailable.


5 Credits


JSIS 392 or LARC 495 (5 credits)

The seminar will employ the following instructional techniques and modalities:

Lectures, readings and discussions
We will organize lectures by Nepali faculty members from Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University, assign readings and hold discussions with Nepali students related to the 3 themes mentioned above.

Site and field visits:
Students will visit the offices of government officials, international/Nepali non-governmental organizations and external development partners to meet key people working in development sectors. We will also conduct a 6 day field visit to the Kavre District outside of Kathmandu to see examples of development practice in a rural context and gain a better understanding of the urban-rural linkages in Nepal.

Community Meetings:
We will coordinate with our partner NGO Lumanti (, who works with poor, urban communities in Kathmandu. During the seminar, we will conduct a participatory meetings to learn about a community’s development priorities and identify together a small-scale design intervention for students to gain introductory experience in participatory planning and design methods.

Hands-on engagement:
Students will construct a small-scale intervention in collaboration with community members.

Collaboration with Nepali students:
In partnership with Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University, we will open our Kathmandu-based program activities to Nepali students. Our aim is to deepen the engagement around development in Nepal by facilitating opportunities for exchange and learning between the Nepali students, UW students, development professionals, and community members.


Program Directors & Staff

David Citrin, Department of Anthropology and Global Health, Program Director

David has been working and conducting research in Nepal for the past 15 years. He served as the Program Director for the 2016 UW JSIS Nepal: Critical Development Studies in Nepal exploration seminar, and previously worked as the Resident Director for the Cornell Nepal Study Program in 2007, where he supervised students from both U.S. universities and Tribhuvan University. David was a Fulbright-Hays Fellow to Nepal in 2009-2010, and brings an interdisciplinary approach to global study that combines medical anthropology, global public health, implementation research, and program monitoring and evaluation.

Benjamin Spencer, Department of Landscape Architecture, Program Co-Director

Ben is the co-founder and director of the Informal Urban Communities Initiative (IUCI). He has more than 12 years of experience working as a public interest designer, researcher and educator in East Timor, Peru, and Cambodia and has led multiple UW study abroad programs during which students have engaged in community driven design/build projects. For more information on these projects please visit the Informal Urban Communities Initiative website at or contact Ben via email.

Scott Halliday, Department of International Studies, Program Coordinator

Scott was the Program Coordinator for the UW faculty-led program, JSIS Nepal: Critical Development Studies in Nepal 2016 exploration seminar. For this program, Scott managed student recruitment and interviewing, oversaw finances, coordinated logistics, and assisted with academic content. Through his work with Possible, Scott has managed Possible’s global health fellows and trainees (undergraduate and professional students) from various universities and institutions in the US. While at Dhulikhel Hospital-Kathmandu University Hospital, he helped managed the global health and international student program, working with over 25 students from 11 countries and 15 universities.


Program Expenses

Cost: $3,125

Estimated Program Fee of $3,125, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, *food (about $10-$40/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

*Students will be expected to pay for most meals while in Kathmandu. The program will cover transportation costs to/from program-sponsored activities, but students must cover any transportation costs for independent activities during personal time. We estimate these will range from $10-$40/day per student. Note that $10 a day represents a very frugal, yet feasible, estimate of expenditures.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,200 - $2,000* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $3,125 October 13, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.